Trump’s Immigration Ban: U.S. State Department Outlines What Counts as a “Bona Fide Relationship”

    WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 12: A sign stand outside the U.S. State Department September 12, 2012 in Washington, DC. U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

    On Wednesday, June 28th, the U.S. State Department released information that lays out what counts–and what doesn’t–as a “bona fide relationship” for people from the 6 Muslim-majority countries who want to visit the United States, but are currently unable to as a result of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that set parts of Trump’s immigration ban into effect. The following are direct citations from Wednesday’s cable.

    “3.  (SBU) The Supreme Court’s partial lifting of the preliminary
    injunctions allows the E.
    O.’s suspension to be enforced only against foreign
    nationals who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the
    United States.
    ”  Therefore, applicants who are nationals of the affected
    countries who are determined to be otherwise eligible for visas and to have a
    credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the
    United States are exempt from the suspension of entry in the United States as
    described in section 2(c) of the E.
    O.  Applicants who are nationals of the
    affected countries and who are determined to be otherwise eligible for visas,
    but who are determined not to have a qualifying relationship, must be eligible
    for an exemption or waiver as described in section 3 of the E.
    O. in order to be
    issued a visa.
      For adjudication purposes, the Supreme Court criteria have
    been couched in this guidance as exemptions from the E.
    O.’s suspension of entry
    in paragraph 10.”


    “10.  (SBU) The E.O.’s suspension of entry does not apply to the following:

    a.
    ) Any applicant who has a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a
    person or entity in the United States.
      Any such relationship with a
    “person” must be a close familial relationship, as defined below.
      Any
    relationship with an entity must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary
    course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.
    O. …

    “11.  (SBU) “Close family” is defined as a parent (including
    parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law,
    daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half.
      This includes step
    relationships.
      “Close family” does not include grandparents,
    grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and
    sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.”


    “12.  (SBU) A relationship with a “U.S. entity” must be formal, documented,
    and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading the
    E.
    O.  A consular officer should not issue a visa unless the officer is
    satisfied that the applicant’s relationship complies with these requirements
    and was not formed for the purpose of evading the E.
    O.  For example, an
    eligible I visa applicant employed by foreign media that has a news office
    based in the United States would be covered by this exemption.
      Students
    from designated countries who have been admitted to U.
    S. educational
    institutions have a required relationship with an entity in the United
    States.
      Similarly, a worker who accepted an offer of employment from a
    company in the United States or a lecturer invited to address an audience in
    the United States would be exempt.
      In contrast, the exemption would not
    apply to an applicant who enters into a relationship simply to avoid the
    E.
    O.for example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may
    not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client
    lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their inclusion in
    the E.
    O.  Also, a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not
    constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States.”

    The U.S. State Department’s definition of “close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces/nephews, cousins, etc. This will most likely be challenged at the district court level. Refugees, who likely do not have U.S. relations that satisfy these criteria, are suddenly left without much hope of gaining entry into the United States.

     

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